Cuckoo Clock

Cuckoo clock: (n) a wall or shelf clock, often carved and decorated, that announces the hours by a sound like the call of the cuckoo

For a very brief season, I had some money.

I did not earn it. The finance was acquired through an inheritance.

It was annoying.

Money is like a parakeet you invite into your house and no matter how hard you try to shut out the sound of the tweeting, it abides.

No matter how much I attempted to envision my money as having a station at the bank, I kept trying to bring it home for the holidays.

Yes.

I wanted to spend it.

I especially wanted to buy things I would not normally buy, but would show others that in buying them, I expressed my opulence.

In everyday English, I wanted my money to brag for me.

On some days, I sat in my small office and thought about items I could purchase that would make me seem prosperous, worldly and well-traveled.

On one such occasion, a cuckoo clock came to mind.

I had always been enamored with them. The idea of a mechanism telling time while also having a little bird pop out of a door on the hour, singing a song to let me know that sixty minutes had passed, enchanted me. How adorable.

I became obsessed.

I quickly found out that they were expensive. But hell—wasn’t that the point?

I learned that the best ones came from Germany, so I suddenly became very patriotic and decided to “buy American.”

I found the best American-made cuckoo clock that was available to be purchased by a mortal such as myself.

It arrived, I opened it up, it looked beautiful, I read the instructions, had others read them with me, so we could all come to a consensus on how to get our cuckoo clock to cuckoo.

After all this was done, we hung it on the wall.

It never worked right. Not even once.

Oh, it would cuckoo—but it would cuckoo like it was cuckoo.

You know what I mean?

It was a clock that had a whim. Apparently, it disregarded the importance of time, and the bird came out to do its show whenever the clock felt like it should.

It still looked beautiful, but if people visited for more than an hour, they became aware that I had purchased a clock with a wacko bird.

 

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Consume

Consume: (v) to eat, drink, or ingest food or drink

Last night, in the spirit of the holidays and expressing great affection, one of my sons made me a huge shrimp cocktail and regally paraded it to the table and set it down in front of me as if I were Henry VIII himself.

It was a beautiful sight. It took time to put together. It was gorgeous (if can bestow such a title upon impaled shrimp).

Yet less than ten minutes later it was consumed. The little fellows had departed, and all that was left behind were little tiny pieces of tail.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I was not sad. Matter of fact, I was quite satisfied with the offering and how it landed deep within my innards.

But it was gone.

I began to look around to see if there were friends of the shrimp which might be available for further consuming.

There were.

I soon forgot the sacrifice of the initial “little swimmers,” as I consumed more and more of their family members.

I felt no guilt whatsoever at destroying a whole generation of crustacea. Appalling.

Certainly to them, I must seem a monster, invading their safe place in the bay, lodging right next door to their pals, the scallops.

But one thing was sure–after my second, and even third, pursuit…

They were gone.

Consumed.

The only thing I took from that experience is that even though shrimp probably do not have souls (at least I hope not), I do have to be careful not to consume people–human brothers and sisters–who do possess such a gift from God.

We are all consumers.

But every once in a while, we need to realize what we’re consuming–and try to put a little back into the sea.

 

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Choose

Choose: (v) to pick out, select or decide on a course of action

I could be kind or I could be mean. I can choose.

Being mean is touted. Being kind is lifted up as virtuous, as it is also mocked as valueless. Is there something in between? How about “keen?”

I could be alert, or I could be dull. It’s for me to choose. Alert is what we applaud and dull is what we observe.

I can be selfish, or look for opportunities to be giving. Is it true that if I give I actually get more, or is that just promotional talk from those who desperately need me to give?

I can choose to enjoy the holidays, or complain about how hectic they are. I do seem to be more grown-up when I bitch. Isn’t that ironic?

I can choose to believe in God, or don the garments of the intelligentsia and sneer at the notion. Do I really want to tie myself into a bunch of hillbilly religionists? Yet do I want to choose to be part of the obnoxiously over-educated?

I can insist I’m a man with no knowledge of women, or scream like a woman who says she is unfairly treated by a man. I suppose I could choose to be a man who understands that a woman is just a human. But it would be a very unpopular position.

That’s the problem. The things I feel I need to choose, which are full of spirit and life, are often relegated to being “buddied up” with the ridiculous and superstitious.

How will I choose?

Can I keep my choice to myself, or must my light shine before all men?

How will we choose?

How can we choose and satisfy the disgruntled masses, while pursuing the glory and advantage of simply believing there’s more?

 

 

 

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Chastise

Chastise: (v) to rebuke or reprimand severely.

I was thoroughly convinced that my kids were going to remember their childhood by benchmarking the exciting trips, opportunities or gifts I gave them.

But as I sit around with them now, at holidays, and they feel free to open up about their journeys of being my offspring, rarely do they refer
to a camping trip or a special dinner at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

All of them recount the moments when their errors were brought to the forefront, and it was commanded of me, as their parent, to chastise. Sometimes they do object to the severity of my application, but mostly they are extraordinarily grateful that I was able to muster the backbone to stand up against trends of the time and try to tell them the truth to the best of my ability.

It’s actually a very moving experience, when I realize they understand that it is required to chastise those you love.

So even though I have no squabble with the common thought that love, exhortation, hugs, kisses and praise are very important parts of a child’s security, I also know that there comes a moment when time stands still–and it is the mission of the parent to stop the progression of ignorance, and encourage a better solution.

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Bruise

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Bruise: (n) an injury appearing as an area of discolored skin on the body

He had an unusual name: Page.

He was a boy. So he took a lot of crap for it.

I think his parents thought they were clever–because his whole name was Page Unus McCloy.Dictionary B

In other words, “Page One McCloy.”

I liked him.

He was a simple little fella. He tried really hard to do everything that everybody else did, but he was sickly–that’s what the teacher said–had a difficult time keeping up.

He also had a problem when playing, because the slightest little bump could cause a bruise. So you can imagine, there were times that Page came from home black and blue. The cops would be called and then everyone would realize it was just due to his…you know. Sickly.

So physical games were pretty much impossible because he always ended up looking like he had been beat up in a bar fight.

One day we found some crab apples in his backyard, rotting on the ground. We decided to throw them at each other. Apparently one of them wasn’t quite rotted enough, and it hit him square in the middle of his forehead, knocked him down and left a huge bruise.

His mother was really mad at me, so I wasn’t allowed to play with Page for a couple of weeks.

But when I returned the friendship was as sweet as ever, and we continued to carefully carry on as young boys do–dodging injury.

Christmas vacation arrived, and I told Page that I would call him over the holidays and that I was looking forward to seeing him “next year.”

When January 7th arrived and we returned to school, I couldn’t find Page. A teacher took me to the side and explained that he had passed away over the holidays, from complications due to something called leukemia.

My first thought was that I must have killed him with the crab apple. That idea haunted me for months.

Matter of fact, it wasn’t until we were in biology class two years later that I understood the type of disease that caused Page to bruise.

Whenever I think of bruises, I think of Page.

Then I think about how important it is, if you love someone, to be tender to their condition … and try not to leave any kind of bruise.

 

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